Ben Kalasho

DISGRACED COUNCILMAN KALASHO RESIGNS, SETTLES SUIT WITH BEAUTY QUEENS—BUT ANOTHER DEFAMATION CASE REMAINS PENDING

Update March 27, 2019:  A press release from the city today states: "City staff will be presenting options of how to fill the vacancy to the City Council at an upcoming public meeting."  Public information officer  Monica Zech told ECM  that according to City Manager Graham Mitchell, "unless the City Council requests a Special Meeting sooner, we plan to present the Council with options to fill the vacancy during the April 9th City Council Meeting."

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

March 26, 2019 (El Cajon) – Citizens who filled the El Cajon City Council chambers last year calling on Councilman Ben Kalasho to resign finally got their wish. Kalasho has submitted a resignation letter effective immediately to the City Manager. 

His resignation creates a vacancy that Mayor Bill Wells said will most likely be filled by appointment to save taxpayers the cost of a special election.

BEN AND JESSICA KALASHO FRAUD AND HARRASMENT CASE TURNS TO POSSIBLE SETTLEMENT THROUGH MEDIATION

 

Insiders say Kalashos may still be subject to criminal prosecution over alleged fraudulent mortgage filings

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

December 25, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The fraud and harassment case against El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, tacked in a different direction on Friday, December 14th when litigants faced San Diego Superior Court Kenneth J. Medel and announced that they reached an agreement to attempt to resolve the case through mediation.

JESSICA KALASHO BRINGS OWN ATTORNEY TO HEARING IN FRAUD AND HARASSMENT CASE; BEN KALASHO ARRIVES SEPARATELY WITHOUT LEGAL COUNSEL

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left to right: Linda Charry, Jimmie Parker, Donald Wolf, Jessica Kalasho, and Ben Kalasho  

BEN AND JESSICA KALASHO SLATED TO APPEAR DEC. 7 AT JUDGMENT DEBTOR’S EXAM IN FRAUD AND SEXUAL HARRASMENT CASE

Judge orders bench warrant with $5000 bail to compel Jessica Kalasho to appear after no-show; Kalashos reportedly take post-election vacation, loaned failed campaign $10,000, vow to drop social media

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left: Councilman Ben Kalasho and his attorney, James Finigan

November 30, 2018 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, are slated to return to Judge Kenneth Medel’s San Diego Superior Court room next week for yet another judgment debtor examination, a proceeding used by judgment creditors to find ways to collect a judgment from a defendant. What will be different this time is that Jessica Kalasho may be arrested by the Sheriff’s Department (with bail set at $5000) should she not follow Medel’s order to appear.

The hearing, coincidentally, is set to take place on the U.S.’s “Day of Infamy,” Dec. 7th, the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by Imperial Japan upon the United States which caused the United States to enter World War II. Ominously, Kalasho received a warning from Medel not to rile the judge's "dark side" at the close of the proceeding.

EL CAJON MAYOR WELLS AND COUNCILMAN KENDRICK THUMP CHALLENGERS

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo by Jesse Kendrick: Mayor  Wells and Councilman Kendrick savor Election Night victories

November 7, 2018 (El Cajon)--El Cajon voters returned Mayor Bill Wells and Councilma/Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick to their positions on the El Cajon City Council on Tuesday night with veritable knockout punches against their challengers.

With 86 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Mayor Bill Wells maintained his lead all evening with 66% (7799 votes) while his challenger, East County businessman Joel A. Scalzitti garnered only 26% (3064 votes). Robert M. Weaver, Jr., in spite of dropping out of the race early and not mounting a campaign because of federal Hatch Act conflicts with his position with the federal government, garnered 8% of the vote with 905 votes.

With nearly 88% precincts reporting, Councilman Kendrick was successful in staving off a challenge from fellow Councilman Ben Kalasho by a landslide. Kendrick got a whopping 85% (3408 votes) with Kalasho only getting 15% (621 votes). 

ECM EXCLUSIVE: EL CAJON COUNCILMEMBER BEN KALASHO SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL USE OF CITY RESOURCES

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 1, 2018 (El Cajon) - El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho today signed a settlement to end his latest legal battle with the city he represents, after his fellow Councilmembers voted unanimously on Monday to sue Kalasho for illegal use of city resources in his campaign to unseat incumbent Gary Kendrick.

The City had intended to bring the matter to the attention of the County of San Diego District Attorney, the California State Attorney General, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

KENDRICK FUNDRAISING MORE THAN DOUBLE KALASHO’S

 

By Miriam Raftery

View Kendrick Schedule A contributions report

View Kalasho Schedule A contributions report

October 30, 2018 (El Cajon) – Council Ben Kalasho has raised $10,259.77 for the reporting period ending October 20th, and 100% of that was donated by  Kalasho, who lists no other donors to his campaign. By contrast, his opponent, Councilman Gary Kendrick, has raised $23,170 this reporting period.  For the campaign to date, Kendrick has raised over $46,000 while Kalasho has received $22,200 total, according to reports filed with the city of El Cajon.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL SAYS “NO” TO KALASHO

 

Council votes against reimbursing Kalasho for settlement with activist Mark Lane

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 28, 2018 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho did not get the answer he wanted to hear from his colleagues on Tuesday.

The El Cajon City Council voted 3-0 this week that it would not fork over $1,500 to reimburse Kalasho for his legal settlement with San Diego activist Mark Lane. El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells was not present due to illness, leaving the decision up to Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick and Councilmembers Bob McLellan and Steve Goble. Kalasho was required to recuse himself.

EL CAJON COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO RANTS AGAINST PRESS, TELLS AUDIENCE TO “NOT SPEAK TO ANY REPORTERS”

Councilman’s wife, Jessica, served with legal suit papers during meeting

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 18, 2018 (El Cajon)--Troubled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho launched into a screed at the conclusion of last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, attacking the local news media during the activities portion of the session. He did not directly name a particular journalist or publication.

He opened by thanking the public for coming to express concerns about the city and have their voices heard, noting that the 3 p.m. meetings are a time when many are working or picking up kids from school.

“It does really say a lot to see so many people come in and speak about genuine issues and concerns – whether if they’re homeless or wanting to bring in more police. I thank you for doing that. This is part of our democracy that we hold dear,” he said. “Your freedom of speech to making these statements – whether they are pro or against. Whether you’re for someone or not it doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t matter the political party. I would even say that we have forgotten how to argue without hating each other. That’s something I think we need to bring back.”

KALASHO LIED: PROCESS SERVER DID FILE POLICE REPORT ACCUSING COUNCILMAN OF THREATENING TO ATTACK HIM WITH DOG

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

ctober 17, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police have released call records documenting that a process server reported being threatened by Councilman Ben Kalasho with an attack dog.  The records were released in response to a records request by East County Magazine, after Kalasho posted this denial on Facebook:

KENDRICK’S SON FILES POLICE COMPLAINT ALLEGING STALKING BY KALASHO; KALASHO FALSELY ACCUSES KENDRICK OF CAMPAIGN VIOLATION ON NEGATIVE FLYER

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2018 (El Cajon)—Jesse Kendrick, son of El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick, has filed a police report accusing Councilman Ben Kalasho of twice stalking and harassing him on the campaign trail, including pursuing him some two miles, at times blocking his way.Kalasho is running against Kendrick on the November ballot.

Jesse Kendrick told ECM that on September 28, he was driving a licensed golf cart in Fletcher Hills “distributing flyers warning the citizens of El Cajon of Mr. Kalasho’s gross misconduct in office” when I noticed a black Range Rover driving very closely behind me.” Those flyers were titled `The terrifying truth about Ben Kalasho.’  View call records to police.

KALASHO CLAIMS ON "LIES VS. FACTS" CAMPAIGN PIECE ARE DETACHED FROM REALITY



By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- In his latest campaign piece titled "The Lies vs. The Facts", El Cajon Councilman Kalasho has made claims that are so outlandish that most can best be described as detached from reality. He urges voters to "don't believe what you hear in the press," despite well documented news articles in East County Magazine, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Reader, and multilple network TV stations on his actions.

His piece derides as “fake news” reports that he is guilty of wrongdoing and fraud, faces sexual harassment claims deemed true by a judge, is accused of threatening people with an attack dog, is under investigation, and paid business fines.

Here are the actual documents from official government agencies, court records and more proving that all of these facts reported are the media are not "fake news," but provably true:

ECM EXCLUSIVE: KALASHO VIOLATES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IN FEDERAL LAWSUIT, PLAINTIFF MARK LANE SAYS



 

Lane claims he and other users are still being blocked and cannot leave comments on Kalasho’s Facebook page

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The peaceful strains of Kumbaya between San Diego activist Mark Lane and El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho could be over.

East County Magazine has exclusively learned that Lane’s attorney, Cory M. Briggs, is planning to inform Southern California U.S. District Federal Court Judge Jeffrey T. Miller that Kalasho is continuing to block Lane and others from his Facebook page in spite of a settlement agreement signed last week between Lane and Kalasho that he would stop the practice.

CITY WARNS KALASHO OVER LEGAL VIOLATIONS USING CITY LOGO AND EMAIL ADDRESS FOR CAMPAIGNING

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell has sent a second letter again warning Councilman Ben Kalasho to cease illegal use of the city’s official seal/logo on his campaign materials.

The letter states that Kalasho is violating FPPC state ethics laws as well as possibly violating Government Code section 8314. The city’s municipal code also prohibits use of the city logo by officials for non-official city business. Kalasho was previously warned in August and again in September, after complaints were lodged, says Mitchell.

KALASHO ACCUSED OF THREATENING PROCESS SERVER WITH ATTACK DOG

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ben and Jessica Kalasho

October 2, 2018 (El Cajon) – A process server has filed a report with El Cajon Police (incident #938) accusing Councilman Ben Kalasho of threatening him with an attack dog on September 26.  The incident comes on the heels of a similar police complaint filed by East County Magazine reporter Paul Kruze, who reported that Kalasho threatened him with the same dog in July.

According to an email sent by Knox Services, the process server company, to attorney Jennifer Hasso, the threat occurred while a process server was attempting to serve Jessica Kalasho, the Councilman’s wife, at their residence regarding a civil lawsuit in which the Kalashos are accused of harassing and defaming multiple plaintiffs. ECM has viewed a copy of that letter with the police incident number.

KALASHO SERVED WITH FEDERAL LAWSUIT AT EL CAJON COUNCIL MEETING

 

Council grapples with rental bicycle problems, commends volunteer Kathy Pillman for founding group that has cleaned up 6 tons of trash

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 14, 2018 (El Cajon) – Citizens who attended Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting once again saw a circus-like performance in which the public spoke out over the clownish antics of Councilmember Ben Kalasho.

KENDRICK-KALASHO RACE HEATS UP

 

 

Fact check: Kendrick mailer on Kalasho “fraud and sex scandals” is true.

Kalasho removes social media post accusing him of stalking opponent's home -- after being served with federal lawsuit for removing critical posts and violating First Amendment.

By Miriam Raftery

September 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – Redistricting has pitted Councilmembers Gary Kendrick and Ben Kalasho against each other in what’s shaping up to be one of the most contentious election battles in East County’s history.   

A mailer from Kendrick’s campaign warns voters, “Judge ruled against Ben Kalasho in fraud and sex scandals.”  No, that’s not fake news.  The flyer contains actual headlines and excerpts from East County Magazine and the San Diego Union-Tribune documenting the numerous legal findings, allegations and scandals involving Kalasho.

KALASHO SEXUAL HARASMENT AND FRAUD CASE REASSIGNED TO NEW JUDGE; SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE TAYLOR RECUSES HIMSELF

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Judge Kenneth Medel is now assigned to the Kalashos' case.

September 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- In the zig-zags of the sexual harassment and fraud case involving El Cajon Council Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica Kalasho, the case zagged on Tuesday when San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy D. Taylor recused himself, ordering the case to be reassigned. By day’s end the case was assigned to Superior Court Judge Kenneth J. Medel.

BENCH WARRANT ISSUED FOR ARREST OF JESSICA KALASHO

 

 

Judge issues warrant because of no-show by Councilman’s wife at key court hearing

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 1, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Life got way more complicated on Friday for Jessica Kalasho, wife of embattled El Cajon City Council member Ben Kalasho.

Jessica Kalasho was scheduled to appear on Friday morning at a judgement debtor’s conference in San Diego Superior Court, however she was a no-show--much to the dismay of presiding Judge Timothy B. Taylor and attorney Jimmie Parker. Parker is representing three contestants who participated in a beauty pageant put on by the Kalashos in 2017 and the owners of an El Cajon taco shop. Plaintiffs allege sexual harassment, fraud and defamation by the Kalashos.

FACT CHECK: KALASHO FALSELY CLAIMS CREDIT FOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OTHERS ON HIS CAMPAIGN MATERIALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 31, 2018 (El Cajon) – On his campaign literature, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho has made some inflated claims about his record. Here’s how the facts compare to the claims.

KALASHO LEAVES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, LASHES OUT AT MEDIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Councilman Kalasho's Facebook followers have shrunk to just 21 people following his numerous ethical and legal controversies.

August 17, 2018 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho tried to reregister as a member of the Federalist Party earlier this week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. However, the Federalist Party is not recognized in California, so Kalasho is now officially a “decline to state party affiliation” voter.

Originally the party of founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, the Federalist Party advocated for a strong federal government but dissolved in the 1820s.  In 2016, a new Federalist Party formed with a polar opposite view, touting smaller government.

READER’S EDITORIAL: KALASHO’S CANDIDATE STATEMENT SLURS EL CAJON AS UNAMERICAN

 

By Jamie Freitas

Councilman Kalasho is running in District 1 in El Cajon, a city with a high population of immigrants and refugees, and which celebrates its diversity and patriotism with an annual “America on Main Street celebration (photo). Last year, that event included a citizenship ceremony for people from 54 different countries.

August 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – Councilman Ben Kalasho thinks El Cajon is dirty,unsafe and does not resemble America. Per his Candidate Statement he submitted he states, "I know that most Fletcher Hills and Grossmont area residents shop in Santee or La Mesa. Why? Because it's safer, cleaner & still feels like you're in America."

COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO PLED GUILTY TO CRIMINAL WORKERS' COMP FRAUD IN 2015, REMAINS ON PROBATION

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho, August 2015

August 9, 2018 (El Cajon)--An exclusive investigation by East County Magazine has uncovered a criminal case in which El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho pled guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud in October 2015 (court case #MD094871).  View full documents. 

Kalasho was on probation for his crimes, both misdemeanors, when he ran for and won his seat on the City Council in 2016. He remains on probation until October 1, 2018. He was also fined.  

His criminal record did not come to light during the campaign because he ran for office as Ben Kalasho without listing his real name, Bessmon Kalasho, with the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

Kalasho has pulled papers to run for El Cajon City Council again in November.   

JUDGE DEEMS ADMITTED: KALASHOS COMINGLED ASSETS OF CHAMBER, PAGEANT AND PERSONAL FUNDS, ALSO DEFAMED ATTORNEY LINA CHARRY

 

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

August 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – The legal spiderweb entangling El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, has become even stickier. Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has issued an order granting a motion by plaintiff Lina Charry, deeming admitted the contents of requests for admissions to which the Kalashos repeatedly failed to respond. Those admissions include allegedly illegal financial dealings,fraudulent and defamatory actions.

U.S. PRESS FREEDOM TRACKER REPORTS ON KALASHO DOG ATTACK THREAT AGAINST ECM REPORTER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine Editor

August 5, 2018 (El Cajon) - Councilman Ben Kalasho’s attacks on First Amendment freedom of the press has drawn national attention.  

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which tracks attacks on journalists’ First Amendment rights in the United States, has published an article on our reporter Paul Kruze’s police complaint against El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho accusing Kalasho of threatening Kruze with atrained attack dog. 

ECM EDITOR AND REPORTER WIN GLORIA PENNER AWARD FOR REPORTING ON KALASHO THREATS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Paul Kruze and Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2018 (San Diego) -- The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) San Diego Chapter presented the Gloria Penner Award for political affairs reporting to East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery and reporter Paul Kruze for their entry titled "Kalasho threats."

The judges commented, "Nothing says tough political reporting like exposing a corrupt politican, and the judges believe that Gloria Penner would have been proud of the journalists' work to expose El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho."

The award, named for the late, great KPBS political journalist, was one of four honors won by ECM at last night's SPJ awards dinner at the Kona Kai resort on Shelter Island. The award includes a $250 prize.

The entry detailed threats and retaliatory actions made by Councilman Kalasho, a mayoral candidate, after our news publication reported on his legal and ethical controversies including judicial findings of sexual harassment, fraud, defamation and cyberharassment against beauty pageant contestants and a businessman. 

SHOULD EL CAJON CENSURE COUNCILMAN KALASHO?

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – As the scandals involving Councilman Ben Kalasho mount, with 11 citizens calling for his resignation at the last City Council meeting, some community members are now asking why the City Council has not censured Kalasho, who has announced his intent to run for Mayor. 

TWITTER DROPS FAKE FOLLOWERS; KALASHO’S FOLLOWERS SHRINK BY OVER HALF

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) – Yesterday, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho posted on Twitter, “Just blocked over 3,000 `reporters and so-called journalists’ from my twitter. Only accepting real people. No snooping snakes. Honest reporters welcome.”

Fact check:  Kalasho’s announcement comes the same day that Twitter dropped tens of millions of fake followers in an effort to halt fraud on social media, the Atlantic Journal Constitution reports:  https://www.ajc.com/news/national/twitter-removes-fake-accounts-users-may-see-drop-followers/Qk4eCHLsFaiiMJBfwocZCN/.

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS SPEAKS OUT ON THREATS AGAINST ECM REPORTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Councilman Ben Kalasho during testimony by Paul Kruze regarding Kalasho’s alleged threat to maul the reporter with a trained attack dog

 

July 13, 2018 (El Cajon) – After our reporter Paul Kruze filed a police report alleging that El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists issued the following statement:

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